Monday, October 26, 2015

THE GAL'S 31 DAYS OF HORROR: AMONG THE STACKS: Chris Garrett


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hey, Chris.  Welcome to The Gal.  It's great having you here today.  Love the picture, by the way.  Definitely in the running for BEST AUTHOR PIC. EVER.  
            Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Chris Garrett:
My name is Chris Garrett.  I am a self-published poet, comic book creator, and author from the state of Georgia.  I started writing when I was 10 and began publishing my work in 2013.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things most people don't know about you?

Chris Garrett:
#1 I was heavily involved in the hardcore and punk music scene and at one point booking and promoting indie record labels and their bands.

#2 I am the 2015 Starbucks LS Barista Champion for my State.

#3 I did a talent show in middle school where I created my own choreography to an NSYNC song.

#4 I hate eggs.

#5 I have a massive collection of Spider-man memorabilia.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Chris Garrett:
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

Chris Garrett:
Re-reading Said The Shotgun To The Head by Saul Williams.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

Chris Garrett:
I fell in love with poetry and stories when I was about 10 and began to write consistently when I was 13.  There was something about storytelling that would take me away when reading and I found the same enjoyment while writing as well.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

Chris Garrett:
There is an abandoned race track two roads down from where I live.  It used to be a regular stop on the Nascar tour in the '60s.  When I can, I like to sneak out there with either my phone or laptop and sit in the bleachers to do some typing.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Chris Garrett:
When it comes to stories, I figure out beginning, twist, and end before I start writing.  It seems to hep me write more smoothly.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Chris Garrett:
I believe the challenge for me is to read my work as fan and not a writer.  I know the story because I have been staging and writing it for months and, in my mind, it plays out like a film.  But trying to read my story as if I never read it before, hoping I provided all the details I imagined for someone who is not me, is rough.  Does that make sense?

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?  Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?

Chris Garrett:
I love dark minded human beings.  With the exception of Shel Silverstein and Robert Frost, my biggest influences were poets Edgar Allan Poe and Saul Williams.  The authors that really influenced me were Joe HillStephen King and R.L. Stein.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Chris Garrett:
I think it's the struggle of a character.  Whether the character is fighting something or someone physically or mentally, it's the details of their battle that keeps us reading.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does it take for you to love a character?  How do you utilize that when creating your characters?

Chris Garrett:
For me, I love the hero and the victim.  The Hero for doing selfless things to save someone else, and the victim fighting for justice, hoping this doesn't happen to anyone else.  Me just finishing my first published short story, For the Blood Signs, I try to give the victim a chance to be the hero.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Chris Garrett:
In my comic book, The Finleys, which is about these strange creatures we call "Bucket sharks," I always relate to Wyatt Finley.  He is a fun loving dad who is also a big fanboy for pop culture.  I'm pretty much in the same boat as him.  (No pun intended.)

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you turned off by a bad cover?  To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?

Chris Garrett:
I personally am not turned off by bad covers.  Growing up where there were books I read (that were classics) that had no picture cover, just the title and name of author, I am 100% DIY with all my work.  I have never done any (successful) crowdfunding so I build my cover completely from scratch using free tools and a low budget.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What have you learned creating your books?

Chris Garrett:
Make the decisions that will make you proud of your book.  If you aren't happy with it, how can you expect someone else to be?

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?

Chris Garrett:
A murder scene.  I've even researched different organs of the body to determine if blood gushes, sprays, or squirts when the organ is punctured.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Chris Garrett:
My books have relatable situations infused with a fantasy twist.  Characters you can really cheer for, and ones you can't help but despise.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?

Chris Garrett:
I went through several titles while writing, but found Find the Blood Signs to be the best choice considering its tie in with parts of the story.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?

Chris Garrett:
I can't speak on writing a novel yet, but I can say that recently finishing my short story is like putting together a 30 piece puzzle instead of a 300 piece puzzle.  They don't take long to do, but still looks as good as a 300 piece puzzle and leaves you time to do more 30 piece puzzles rather than focusing on a 300 piece puzzle for a long period of time.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories.

Chris Garrett:
My most recent short story, Find the Blood Signs, is about Adrian Moss, a Detective who lost his family to a serial murder.  As he tries to escape his past, it soon catches up with him.  He believes the murders are the work of a cult who hope to go to a satanic meeting ground known as Hell House.  Adrian finds the blood sign in each case hoping to find the murderer, but finds a dark secret instead.  Target audience is for teens and young adults.  After reading it, you realize that everything has a story, but some stories are better untold.
            The Finleys is an indie comic book.  Cursed to live in chum buckets, The Finleys are a rare breed of half shark that live among human society and reside in the magical town of Bermuda.  It's just a fun comic book for all ages.
            The Stupid Nerdy Notebook 1-3 (reviewed by The Gal here) is the poetic struggle of a teenage boy trying to understand the world and why things happen the way life intends.  With the classical influence of Robert Frost and Edgar Allan Poe, and the help of modern music in the Punk, Indie and Hardcore genre, I created page after page of exciting stories in the form of riddles, rhymes and stanzas.  We all have battles to face and sometimes the best defense is a pen and paper.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?

Chris Garrett:
In Find the Blood Signs, the story was changed for a better direction of narrating.  The original story was told through the main characters eyes.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is in your 'trunk'?  (Everyone has a book or project, which doesn't necessarily have to be book related, that they have put aside for a 'rainy day' or for when they have extra time.  Do you have one?)

Chris Garrett:
I started a book a few years ago that turned into a zine titled Moshpits & Banana Splits.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Chris Garrett:
I have some convention coming up along with some freelance writing.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where can we find you?  (You know, STaLKeR links.)

Chris Garrett:

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
It was great to have you here today, Chris, and I expect to see you back again with some of these future works.  
            Before you go, do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you'd like to say that we didn't get to cover in this interview?

Chris Garrett:
Thank YOU for supporting indie writers, artist, and self-publishers.  Without you, this interview would not be possible.  And, as always, thank you Gal in the Blue Mask for the opportunity to share my work on your page.  Love all of you and look forward to meeting you all one day. :)


About the author:
Being the last surviving child on Elm Street, Chris Garrett is a natural storyteller, delivering nerve pounding tales of hope, heart break and moshpits since 2004.  He is an independent author and freelance comic book writer.  His work includes the teen angst zine and poetry series The Stupid Nerdy Notebook and has scripted short comics for Scairy Tales Publishing based out of Atlanta.  He is also the co-creator of The Finleys characters and comics, along with J.R. Mounts that will be printed in 2015 by Scairy Tales Publishing.  When not writing or being with family, Chris enjoys eating brains and crawling out of graves in local cemeteries.

About the book:

Find the Blood Signs
Genre: Horror
Publication date: 10.26.2015
Pages: 34

Adrian Moss is a Detective who lost his family to a serial of murders.  As he tries to escape his past, it soon catches up with him.  He believes the murders are the work of a cult who hope to go to a satanic meeting ground known as Hell House.  Adrian finds the blood signs in each case hoping to find the murderer, but finds a dark secret instead.

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